Military

The Marine Corps Gazette Gets the Evolution of Maneuver Warfare Right

By William S. Lind, Traditional Right

The September issue of the Marine Corps Gazette includes an article for which there has been a long-standing need, namely an accurate recounting of the history of maneuver warfare’s evolution into official Marine Corps doctrine. Written under the pen name Marinus as part of an ongoing series, the Maneuverist Papers, it does what none of the books on the subject have managed, namely provide a non-partisan account that identifies all the streams that fed into the maneuver warfare river.

Of these streams, which the article calls threads, there were five: intense dissatisfaction among Marine Corps officers over our performance in Vietnam and our final loss of that war (something that seems to have vanished with more recent defeats); interest in mechanized operations because that is what a conflict in Europe with the Soviet Union seemed to require; the model offered by the Prussian/German Army, for which I was the main spokesman; renewed interest in classical military literature, especially Clausewitz and Sun Tzu; and the theoretical work of Col. John Boyd, USAF. My only quibble with the account is its failure to mention that I began the maneuver warfare debate with a critique of forthcoming Army doctrine that I wrote in 1976 and was published in Military Review in 1977. Like it or not, I was first.

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